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Original Post (Thread Starter)
Cottonwood Lakes vs Cottonwood Pass #58298 01/28/2021 1:18 AM
by Trevsooner
Hello experts!

1) Do you prefer Cottonwood Lakes or Cottonwood Pass for beginning JMT hike in mid July?

2) Will an "overnight" wilderness pass to either one of these starting points allow me to also hike Mt.Whitney? Or is there a separate permit in addition to hike Mt Whitney? I did not see an option to add Mt.Whitney on the website for Cottonwood/Lakes wilderness pass.

Thank you for your input!
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Re: Cottonwood Lakes vs Cottonwood Pass #58299 Jan 28th a 02:28 AM
by WanderingJim
When looking for permit son, you have select 'Overnight Exiting Mt Whitney'.
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Re: Cottonwood Lakes vs Cottonwood Pass #58300 Jan 28th a 02:38 AM
by Jammer
If I understand you correctly, you are talking about a northbound hike of the entire JMT starting at one of the Horseshoe Meadow trailheads. If so, then my preference would be Cottonwood Pass most likely. I’ve only personally done that route, so maybe Cottonwood Lakes up to New Army Pass has some positive reasons recommending it, but my understanding is that Cottonwood Pass is a little easier over all. That might be nice at the start of such a long hike.

You can definitely summit Whitney from the West with the regular overnight permit as long as you descend back to the west and continue your hike along the JMT. As mentioned in an earlier reply, if your intent is to summit Whitney from the west but then exit to the portal, you will need the Exiting Mt Whitney version of the overnight permit. This is MUCH harder to come by in my experience.
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Re: Cottonwood Lakes vs Cottonwood Pass #58301 Jan 28th a 06:32 AM
by Steve C
Steve C
Cottonwood Pass is preferred because it only climbs to 11000' before descending. Cottonwood Lakes climbs to 12,400' over New Army Pass, so an extra 1,400' vertical, which is significant when carrying a pack with many days' supplies.

You do not need a special permit to climb Mt Whitney from the west and then descend to the west. In prior years, selecting a "Visiting Mt Whitney" option implied you would be traveling through the Inyo National Forest's "Mt Whitney Zone", which only begins on the east side of the Mt Whitney crest. You wouldn't be doing that if you are hiking northbound on the JMT. The Visiting Mt W just increased the fee you paid, and that helped Inyo National Forest administer the Mt. Whitney Zone.

I see Inyo N.F. and have removed the "Visiting Mt Whitney" option. It was there previous years, and JMT hikers would be charged more, even though it technically was not required.
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